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Ian Smith

Image by Nick Andréka


September 23, 1939 - May 9, 2024

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved spouse, father, and grandparent, Ian C. P. Smith. He was born in Winnipeg in 1939 to Cormack and Grace Mary Smith. Ian will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Eva; their four children, Brittmarie (Dave), Cormack (Michelle), Duncan (Sheryl), and Roderick (Pam); and their nine grandchildren, Annika, Keaton, Rebecca, Olivia, Erik, Rory, Noah, Mackenzie, and Kendall.

At an early age, Ian showed a propensity for science, to the extent of building a chemistry lab in his parents’ basement where he was using his mother’s kitchen mixer as a centrifuge. He graduated from the University of Manitoba with an Honors B.Sc. in Chemistry and a M.Sc. in Physical Chemistry. He further enhanced his education by attending Cambridge University in England and graduating with a PhD in Theoretical Chemistry. It is also in England where he met the love of his life, an attractive Swedish girl, Eva Landvik. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and at Bell Labs. He then began his 47-year career with the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa, making a significant impact as a mentor and advisor. He rose in the ranks of NRC to Director General of the Institute for Biological Sciences in Ottawa and in 1992 he moved back to Winnipeg to build the new Institute for Biodiagnostics as its Director General. Throughout his career, he lectured about his research at the Universities of Manitoba and Ottawa, Carleton University, McGill University, Queen’s University, and numerous global conferences. He played a pivotal role in the success of several firms, including Manitoba Technology Accelerator, Novadaq, and CIMTEC, focusing on cancer diagnosis and treatment. Before fully retiring in 2017, he served as President of Innovative Biodiagnostics Inc. and CEO of the Center for Imaging Technology Commercialization. His legacy in advancing medical technology will forever be cherished by his family and colleagues.

In recognition of his contributions to the scientific community, Ian was a recipient of numerous awards including the Flavelle Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, the Order of Faithful Service and the Order of the Star of Romania, Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada, the Order of Canada, Honourary degrees from the Universities of Stockholm, Winnipeg, and Brandon, Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Platinum Jubilee Medals, and the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt. He is also a biographee in multiple Marquis Who’s Who publications.

Ian, a sports enthusiast, enjoyed skiing, golf and tennis.  He took great pride in his home and yard, always puttering around fixing things.  Ian’s passion for travel took him and his family around the globe where they immersed themselves in various cultures. He was fluent in both Swedish and French.  His weekends were devoted to his children’s sports and education, taking immense pride in their achievements. In later years, he revelled in his grandchildren’s accomplishments and watching them grow. Ian cherished family gatherings, always eager to socialize and celebrate special occasions. He had a special place in his heart for his dogs and loved walking and cross-country skiing with them.

Ian will be sadly missed by all who knew him. The family will be holding a private memorial at a later date. Donations can be made in Ian’s memory to an animal rescue centre or for cancer research in Manitoba. The family is grateful for the support and assistance that it received from Ethical Death Care cremation services of Winnipeg. 

Ian’s family kindly requests that all of his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by sharing photos, memories, and stories, using the comment section on this page.


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St. Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

Memories, Stories and Condolences


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Landis Henry

June 19, 2024 at 1:13 AM

Thank you Ian for all that you did for me and so many others. Your door was always open and you were always there to nurture those starting their journey in science or providing feedback and advice to experts. He played a pivotal role in bringing together the Institute for Biodiagnostics (IBD) and the Winnipeg chapter of the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). A truly visionary leader. You were always and will remain "the best of the best" and will be deeply missed.

Tedros Bezabeh

June 16, 2024 at 4:37 PM

I met Ian in 1992 at the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine Annual Conference in Berlin for the first time and he was the reason I ended up coming to Winnipeg after getting my Ph.D. I worked under his supervision for 19 years. He was a great boss, an ideal mentor, and a true friend. Ian was truly visionary. He always looked at the big picture and was always full of ideas. He had an infectious optimism. Every time I left his office after a meeting, I felt more upbeat and more positive about things. He showed a lot of interest in my kids growing up and always asked about them. He was also always happy to talk about his children and was very proud of them. Ian liked trying different ethnic foods and Indian food was probably his favorite. He was a great scientist and a committed public servant. He truly liked Winnipeg and has done a lot of great things for the scientific and business community in the city. He will be dearly missed. My sincere condolences to Eva and the family.

Racquel Baert

June 5, 2024 at 2:00 AM

My condolences to Eva and the family. Ian was my boss for 11 years at NRC and he was a great guy to work for. He not only set the direction of IBD, he set the atmosphere - and it is my favourite place of all the places I've worked. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to work for him.

Ravi Menon

June 2, 2024 at 2:29 PM

I first met Ian in 1985 in Myer Bloom's NMR lab at UBC. From that point onward he gave freely of career advice and supported me in many ways. I still remember a night in the late 90's when Ian was at our first house in London for dinner and a police officer came to pick him up! It was Cormack. Canada and the NMR and MRI communities owe him a debt of gratitude.

Jeff F Dunn

June 1, 2024 at 1:42 AM

I was sad to hear the news today that Ian had passed away. He was very influential in my career. He was kind and thoughtful in mentoring me as a Canadian scientist. Ian made a difference. He will be

Bill Smith

May 30, 2024 at 7:25 PM

It is with great sadness that I learn of Ian's passing. He was a wonderful colleague, a dear friend and a mentor during my time with NRC in Ottawa and NRC/IRAP in Winnipeg. He was a recognized internationally renown scientist and local champion of innovation and technology commericalization in Winnipeg. Along with Clive Willis, Ian revitilized NRC's presence in Winnipeg and transformed IBD into a centre for innovation. He challenged us all to be better NRC employes for many decades. My family and I are grateful to Ian and EVa for helping us with our move to Winnipeg and for helping us come to treasure Winnipeg as our home.

Harry Sjögren

May 30, 2024 at 11:40 AM

Kära Eva och barnen.

Vi kommer alltid att minnas Ian med värme och glädje. Alla de mysiga resorna, goda måltiderna och hjärtliga skratten. Många kramar och vi tänker på er. Harry, Hans och Helene


Lois Gray

May 30, 2024 at 2:50 AM

I am blessed to have known Dr Smith during my time with NRC in Winnipeg. I'll always remember his kindnrsd and generosity.

Sanaz Mohajeri

May 24, 2024 at 4:53 AM

My sincere condolences, very sad to hear this news. I had the honour of being his PhD student. He shaped my career. He was a highly respected leader and there was so much to learn from him from research to management.


Beth Proven

May 24, 2024 at 12:37 AM

I met Ian when I was working at Brandon University and he was receiving an Honourary Doctorate. I remember distinctly what a lovely person he was. I have run across his name here and there throughout all these years since, and always remember that one time I met him. He was the kind of person you don't forget. My condolences to his family.

Jim Mansfield

May 23, 2024 at 2:14 PM

I am deeply saddened to hear of Ian's passing. His vision and leadership brought the NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics to Winnipeg, a move that profoundly shaped my career. His genuine interest in others' work, coupled with his unwavering dedication to promoting Winnipeg, made a lasting impact on many of us. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Eilean McKenzie-Matwiy

May 23, 2024 at 11:49 AM

Ian was always a great support of early researchers and showed a tremendous interest in developing talent. He was especially proud of Winnipeg and keeping researchers here. Our condolences to Eva and her family.

Richard Baumgartner

May 23, 2024 at 12:34 AM

I remember Ian as a strong leader with vision who cared for his employees.

During my time at IBD, I learned a lot and continue to draw on that experience. I also appreciated the friendly and collegial environment we shared, thanks to Ian.


My deepest sympathy to Eva and her family.


Murray Alexander

May 22, 2024 at 4:57 PM

Ian gave me 18 happy years of productive research at the Institute of Biodiagnostics, and fostered a spirit of belonging to a family,. He was a uniquely gifted individual and will be very much missed.

Condolences to Eva and the family.

Liane Patterson

May 22, 2024 at 11:21 AM

I worked with Ian at NRC Winnipeg early in my library career. He was an advocate for the importance of informed decision making and was a strong supporter of libraries overall. On a personal note, working at NRC Winnipeg, the Institute for Biodiagnostics then, was like working with family, and Ian is the person that created that atmosphere. I have very fond memories of that time..


My condolences to Eva and family. Thank you for sharing Ian with us.

Carol Richardson

May 21, 2024 at 3:26 PM

My condolences to Eva and family.


I first meet Ian when I worked with CIHR and he gave us a tour of the NRC facility in Winnipeg. Later, when I worked with CIMTEC, Ian joined our Board of Directors, became the chair and then CEO of the company. We greatly appreciated Ian’s dedication and guidance . He was always supportive and eager to help promote the translation of research. He will be missed.

Harry Schulz

May 18, 2024 at 10:49 PM

I was sad to learn of Ian's passing. He was a friend and ally to many in Winnipeg's medical/research community.


We first met when the IBD was being established in Winnipeg and the first MRI was being set up at St Boniface Hospital. He was always trying to support our efforts and I would be hard pressed to list all of the good turns that he did for us.

A true champion of Winnipeg and a leader.

My condolensces to Eva and the family.



Roxanne Deslauriers

May 18, 2024 at 4:45 PM

My sincere condolences to you, Eva, and the family.

Ian was a lifelong friend and supporter. He was the most important mentor to me as a graduate student. Ian provided me with great opportunities for career development at a time when women scientists hardly existed at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and elsewhere in Canada. For this I am profoundly grateful. Ian had a very open mind, bringing researchers from all aroud the world to his work in his lab at NRC. Everyone was treated equally and with respect, regardless of their country of origin. His enthusiasm for science was infectious. Everyone learned and had a good time working in the lab. His trainees were given ample opportunities to advance their training by attending conferences around the world. Ian believed in NRC and promoted biomedical scientific research in Canada and in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary and Halifax in particular. He was much in demand as a guest lecturer at conferences and universities around the world. He was truly deserving of his prestigious membership in the Order of Canada, among his other career recognitions and awards.

Charles Bernstein

May 18, 2024 at 4:40 PM

Ian was a truly great guy and we had fascinating collaborations and discus

charles Bernstein

Richard Buist

May 18, 2024 at 3:18 AM

Sincere condolences to Eva and the extended family. I was privileged to work for Ian as a Research Associate from 1986 to 1990 first on Sussex Ave and later at M-40 on Montreal Rd which housed one of Canada's first MRI instrument. Ian attracted scientists from around the world including Dr. Jim Peeling and Dr. Garnet Sutherland from Winnipeg who subsequently hired me as manager of their new lab at the University of Manitoba. I was thrilled that Ian followed me to Winnipeg and was greatly aided in my work by the expertise of many scientists and technicians who worked at IBD.

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